Yes, you might. As you recognize, constructive trust is a remedy, not a cause of action. A constructive trust is an involuntary equitable trust created by operation of law as a remedy to compel the transfer of property from the person wrongfully holding it to the rightful owner.
California Civil Code section 2223 provides that "[o]ne who wrongfully detains a thing is an involuntary trustee thereof, for the benefit of the owner."
Civil Code section 2224 states that "[o]ne who gains a thing by fraud, accident, mistake, undue influence, the violation of a trust, or other wrongful act, is, unless he or she has some other and better right thereto, an involuntary trustee of the thing gained, for the benefit of the person who would otherwise have had it."
Under these statutes and the case law applying them, a constructive trust may only be imposed where the following three conditions are satisfied:
(1) the existence of a res (property or some interest in property);
(2) the right of a complaining party to that res; and
(3) some wrongful acquisition or detention of the res by another party who is not entitled to it.
(Burlesci v. Petersen, (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1069.)
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.